Important facts about Lithium

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Mains GS-III: Science & Technology
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Key facts about Lithium:

  • It is a soft, silvery-white metal that heads group 1, the alkali metals group, of the periodic table of the elements.
  • Features:
    • It has the lowest density of all metals.
    • It is the lightest of the solid elements
    • It reacts vigorously with water.
    • It has a body-centered cubic crystal structure.
  • Occurrence:  
  • Lithium does not occur as a metal in nature but is found combined in small amounts in igneous rocks.
  • Lithium is found in brine deposits and as salts in mineral springs. Its concentration in seawater is 0.1 part per million (ppm).
  • Major Reserves: Lithium reserves are concentrated in the lithium triangle in South America – Argentina, Bolivia & Chile, with 50% of the deposits concentrated in these regions. 
  • Uses:
  • Lithium is important in rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras, and electric vehicles. 
  • It is also used in some non-rechargeable batteries for things like heart pacemakers, toys, and clocks.
  • Lithium metal is made into alloys with aluminium and magnesium, improving their strength and making them lighter. 
  • Lithium oxide is used in special glasses and glass ceramics.
  • Lithium stearate is used as an all-purpose and high-temperature lubricant.
  • Lithium carbonate is used in drugs to treat manic depression


Q1) What are alkali metals?

Alkali metals are the chemical elements found in Group 1 of the periodic table. The alkali metals include: lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, cesium, and francium.These elements react with water to form hydroxide ions, creating alkaline solutions (pH>7).

Source: Lithium deposits found in J&K: Is India's EV drive now set to take the fast lane?